The Westwood Board of Health this week approved a measure to prohibit the sale of tobacco products at the two pharmacies in town: on Washington Street and on High Street.
The move is not new; severeal in the immediate area have already enacted such a law, such as in Walpole and Needham, Shea said.
"There's been a big push to prohibit (pharmacies) from selling tobacco, because it's almost a contradiction," said Westwood Health Director Linda Shea. "It is a town-by-town thing. Many of the towns around us have already revised their regulation to include pharmacies as a health care institutions, because many of them have clinics now, and many offer flu shots."
The new law will go into effect once Shea has submitted a legal notice regarding the matter, which she expects to do next week.
Currently, 11 retail venues in Westwood sell tobacco, a number that will decrease to 10 after the new measure takes effect. Walgreens does not currently sell tobacco, but the Board of Health notified the store in case it chose to look at selling the product down the road. Shea said there was no pushback or resistence from either pharmacy in regards to the new regulation.
Some supermarkets also feature an in-house pharmacy; Roche Bros. does not, however.
Years ago, it was typical for even hospitals to sell tobacco in their gift shops. But after research over time revealed the health issues related to first-, second- and third-hand smoke, more and more health agencies have stopped selling tobacco products.
"Pharmacies were the last places where you could still purchase tobacco products," Shea said. "I think it's good, it's a step in the right direction."
Adding to that, the Board of Health also raised its annual fees issued to retailers in town that sell the product. The fee has increased from $200 to $300.
That move, Shea said, came after the board looked at its current fees this past March, when it realized several fees hadn't been raised since 1995.
But the raise in fees could not take effect until the regulation was amended, and as such it was the appropriate time to move forward with the tobacco prohibition at local pharmacies.
Both the regulation and the new fees will take place close to July 1, Shea said.